The performances by this week’s players include everything from luck to perfection. Devery Henderson’s game-winning, Hail Mary catch at the end of Louisiana State’s victory over Kentucky was something special. Reggie McNeal’s clutch performance while filling in for regular starter Dustin Long helped the Aggies upset Oklahoma. and finally, Brad Banks’ perfect performance against Northwestern has Iowa fans screaming Heisman.
Why Henderson?: Wide receiver Devery Henderson, lucky or not, was on the finishing end of one of the greatest plays in college football history. With Louisiana State down by three to Kentucky and 75 yards from the end zone, Tigers’ quarterback Marcus Randall launched a pass that deflected into Henderson’s hands for a stunning touchdown and a 33-30 Louisiana State victory. A Kentucky player leapt and tipped the ball right into Henderson’s hands at the Wildcats’ 25-yard line. The receiver then grabbed the ball and sprinted between two defenders, untouched for the score. Henderson’s day wasn’t limited to the final miracle catch, though, as he finished with five receptions for 201 yards and the final touchdown.
Why Banks?: If Iowa quarterback Brad Banks wants to throw his name into Heisman Trophy contention, playing perfect football isn’t a bad way to go about things. Banks was 10 of 10 passing, including three touchdowns tosses, and also ran for two touchdowns as the Hawkeyes swamped hapless Northwestern, 62-10, leaving Iowa one win away from a perfect Big Ten season. Iowa led the Wildcats just 14-7 after the first quarter, but then the Hawkeyes proceeded to score 48 of the game’s next 51 points, with Banks running for his two touchdowns in the second quarter to start the onslaught. As if that wasn’t enough, Banks’ backup, Nathan Chandler, also finished a perfect 2 of 2 on his pass attempts, for 33 yards to ice the victory.
Why McNeal? Reggie McNeal did not initially get the starting nod at quarterback for Texas A&M, but he may have earned it for the rest of the season and beyond. The freshman completed eight of 13 passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for 89 yards as the Aggies stunned top-ranked Oklahoma, 30-26, putting a serious damper in the Sooners’ Fiesta Bowl chances. McNeal entered the game after starter Dustin Long was ineffective, and the Aggies were trailing 10-0. He proceeded to throw touchdown passes of 61, 40, 17 and 40 yards en route to a 30-23 lead late in the game. Oklahoma kicked a field goal to cut the lead to four, but was unable to punch in the winner.